Southwest Horizon School Division budget concerns

Note: This letter is in response to the Southwest Horizon School Division budget announced at the public on February 14. Allan Downey is a trustee with SHSD but he felt but felt someone had to speak as to where the Manitoba Government is headed with Education in our communities. He sent this letter to the Minister of Education and the SHSD trustees
Dear Editor
I would like to speak against the budget that is being proposed here tonight. In my opinion, this budget is heading us down the wrong path. This budget will only lead to more cuts. To more losses for our communities. Why are we cutting? Because of mismanagement? Because of overspending? Because of overpaid employees? No. The only reason we are cutting is because Mr. Wishart says we have to.
For the past four years this Board has had a plan, a plan that I feel was working. In a very responsible way we were adding to our schools, to our communities. We have added Home Ec to our schools and we have started to add industrial arts opportunities as we saw tonight. We have upgraded our internet system. We have started to better recognize our Colony Schools. We have invested in our staff. We have maintained our school buildings. And most importantly, we have treated all of communities equitably. Each community has different needs but no one has been left behind.
Yes, all of this comes with a price tag, a very big price tag, a price tag that is to be shared. Why have we invested so heavily in ourselves? Because we believe we have a future. For the past four years our local communities have stepped up and paid for our schools. For the past four years our government has stepped back. Why? Because we did not vote Tory Blue? Or because they see our future elsewhere? Can we keep going to the well forever? Of course not.
Last June our Board met with our two MLAs, Cliff Cullen and Doyle Piwniuk, voicing our concerns about the rising cost of education and ways we recognized to help lower these costs. We were assured the Minister would hear them. The result? Nothing, seriously nothing, no word from the Minister, no follow up from the MLAs… nothing.
Last week Mr. Wishart announced a Provincial funding increase for Manitoba Education. AN INCREASE. Now I know the new math curriculum is confusing, but I do believe Mr. Wishart is old enough that he would have learned his math as I did, with a chalkboard, and there is no way I would have passed by saying a -2% for Southwest Horizon is an increase.
Yes what we spend on Education is unreal. My phone bill, my daughter’s new blue jeans full of holes…the price is unreal. As farmers we realize that to continue farming we have to work with unreal costs, but if we choose not to and just tread water, just hang on, our future is limited. I do not believe our future is limited as Mr. Wishart says. I believe our future is only limited if we do not work together to make funding of our education better. Making cuts to say we cut solves nothing.
The budget that Mr. Wishart has provided to you tonight takes us down the wrong path. Please make your voices heard.
Allan Downey
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